Back to School

CDS Reunite 2020-21

Carolina Day School's roadmap for a return to campus.

Welcome to our evolving plan for a return to campus this fall.

Carolina Day's approach and best practices have been shaped by: 

  • Three powerful and simple guiding principles: Community. Wellness. Deep Learning.
  • Our mission to inspire students to become innovative thinkers who communicate with intelligence and clarity, create with vision and purpose, and act with courage and compassion to confidently make a meaningful difference in the world.
  • The lessons we learned during our emergency response to COVID-19 this spring.
  • The expertise of a community of health care, communicable disease and online learning professionals.
  • The commitment to balance the shared desire to return to the best possible learning environment for our students, faculty and staff with the health and safety precautions that protect their well-being.

The 2020–2021 school year will require patience, flexibility, understanding and collaboration as we continue our commitment to academic excellence under circumstances that are difficult to predict.

Below you will find information about our return to campus and the year ahead, including important dates, health and safety protocols, instructional models, communications, and planning leadership. 

Current Campus Operating Modes

Lower, Key, and Middle School divisions are currently in "controlled campus" mode (all school-day teaching and learning is on campus, with physical distancing and added health and safety protocols).

Upper School (grades 9–12) is currently in "rolling campus" mode (alternating cohorts for on-campus and off-campus learning, with physical distancing and added health and safety protocols).

See below for more information on campus operating modes.

CDS Reunite Calendar

AUG 12 
Optional Virtual Conferences

AUG. 13–14
"CDS Reunite On-Campus Orientation"
Get ready for school! Your student will be invited to one of these days to be welcomed to school and learn about the new health and safety protocols—and put them into practice while at school. As we get closer to the start of school, you'll receive specific information on "CDS Reunite" days.

AUG. 15
"CDS Reunite On-Campus Orientation" by RSVP only for families who cannot attend on August 13 or 14.

AUG. 18
First Day of School - LS, KLS, MS, and US

AUG. 19
First Day of School - KMS

2020-21 Important Dates Calendar 1-sheet printable

Health & Safety Protocols

Carolina Day School's highest priority is the health and safety of our students, families, faculty and staff. To support this priority, expertly-advised health and safety protocols will be in place for the 2020-21 school year. The work of planning for our reopening has been led by Carolina Day’s leadership team under the guidance of a COVID-19 Advisory Board, a team of medical experts and community leaders that CDS formed in May to advise the school’s leadership and trustees. One of the guiding principles in the development of Carolina Day’s plan has always been to closely adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for the reopening of schools as well as public health guidance issued by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. You can find these health and safety protocols in our CDS Reuniting Campus Health and Safety Plan.

In a nutshell, we aim to mitigate the risk of transmission as much as possible through a number of practices, including:


Wearing of cloth face coverings / masks on campus.

Wash hands

Frequent hand washing and cleaning.


Physical distancing and use of individual (not shared) classroom materials.


Adopting a “cohort model” throughout the school day where possible, ensuring that student and staff groupings are as static as possible and mixing between groups is restricted.


Implementing new arrival and dismissal procedures.

Commitment to health and safety

A commitment by all members of the CDS community to follow all safety protocols and to stay at home if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness. As an honor code school, we must all lead by example as we aim to collectively keep Carolina Day School open on campus during this pandemic.

CDS Reuniting Campus Health and Safety Plan

All Wildcat students and families will be expected to follow the protocols found in the CDS Reuniting Campus Health and Safety Plan to keep our school safe. Following the protocols at school and at home will be our best strategy in keeping students on campus for the longest possible time.

We are in this together, Wildcats!

Watch the video below to see the basics in action.

FAQs about Health & Safety


A Flexible Campus, Curriculum and Community

We are committed to keeping as much of the Wildcat experience on campus as possible. Yet, in this uncertain time, CDS is preparing an approach of connected learning—one in which teachers and students can remain safe and seamlessly continue learning despite disruptions or shifts in public health conditions. Our guiding principals are simple and powerful: Community. Wellness. Deep Learning.

CDS Plan for Connected Learning

Three campus operating modes have been developed to support our CDS Plan for Connected Learning:

Controlled Campus

Controlled Campus

Moderate physical distancing and added health and safety protocols. 

Limit large gatherings.

All school-day teaching and learning is on campus.

Rolling Campus

rolling Campus

High physical distancing and added health and safety protocols. 

Limit campus population.

Alternating cohorts for on-campus and off-campus learning.

Virtual Campus

virtual Campus

Campus is closed to students.

Essential personnel only on campus.

Teaching and learning is remote.

Transition between modes

The decision as to whether the school will operate as a controlled, rolling, or virtual campus will be based on current health conditions, state and local policies, and campus capacity. The school will make decisions based on an ongoing review of and responsiveness to changing conditions. Our Plan for Connected Learning assures that we can transition between modes and maintain community, wellness, and deep learning. 

In the event that CDS has to shift into or out of a virtual campus, a one-day transition period will allow students to continue their learning while faculty and staff prepare instruction and/or facilities for the new mode. More details will be included in our Plan for Connected Learning, coming soon. 

CDS Bridge: A Virtual Option for Academic Continuity

Our top priorities are to return to campus in August and to support student and faculty health and safety while doing so. We know that in-person sessions are the best for whole child wellbeing and learning. Every in-person school scenario would utilize procedures as outlined in the Carolina Day School Reuniting Campus Health and Safety Plan. 

We understand that there are students who wish to remain in the CDS program, but whose overall medical profile prevents them from engaging in on-campus learning for some or all of 2020-21. These students may qualify for participation in the CDS Bridge program. This virtual learning option would provide home-bound learners a bridge to academic excellence (preparation for continued success at CDS beyond the bridge period) as well as a bridge to community during that time (learning is remote but not isolated). This program is not designed to replicate the on-campus experience. The aim is to provide educational continuity for our stay-at-home students so they may eventually reenter to on-campus learning without gaps in core academic areas. 

Fitness for the CDS Bridge program will be determined based on a mutual agreement between the family and the school. Success in the CDS Bridge program depends on levels of student independence, initiative, and self-advocacy; executive functioning skills; and demonstrated honor and integrity. The CDS Bridge participants will require certain levels of family support as well as home access to technology (broadband, computer, printer, etc.) and supplies (standard school supplies and occasional additional materials). 

As we develop this program, we anticipate that students enrolled in CDS Bridge would be given the opportunity to re-enter the on-campus learning community at the start of each new term (August, November, or February for PK–8 and August or January for grades 9-12). 

Access to CDS Bridge is a part of the standard tuition rate.

CDS parents and caregivers were emailed instructions in July for signing up for CDS Bridge. 

Fall 2020 Sports

Carolina Day is offering sports as allowed by the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA), our athletics governing body in keeping with the health and safety protocols of Carolina Day. 

Per NCISAA directive, no spectators will be allowed at any competition. The NCISAA is currently reviewing this mandate, but until we hear otherwise, spectators will not be permitted to attend events. Events are limited to athletes, coaches, athletic staff, and essential personnel: team managers, officials, video staff, security, and other game operation staff members.



Carolina Day School will keep families informed about announcements and information related to COVID-19 and the school's learning environments.